I am a pantser, not a plotter, so sometimes I get to a point when, like a driver without a road map, I have to admit I am lost.
Luckily, I have OnStar for road trips. But to plot out my course in a work in progress…not so much help.
I had a feeling yesterday while I was writing that something was wrong. I had a plot, I had a good idea of where I was going, but I wasn’t sure the destination was valid. That same feeling sent me to Google and I did some research.
Yep, you should listen to that inner voice. I based the ending of the story on a premise that wasn’t true. If I’d gone on and eventually published the book, my email would have been filled with angry letters from historians.
In the story, my protagonist is being blackmailed, but what I discovered was that what he did was not exactly against the law in the early 1800s. Well, it was, but he wouldn’t have been punished except for a fine that he could easily have paid. In real life he’d have laughed and told his adversary to go ahead and report him.
So the threat wasn’t a threat after all.
I felt both crushed that I had to come up with another sin in his past and happy that I’d taken time to fact check before I had gone any further, because I hate looking like an idiot.
I left my work station and went outside and whacked some upstart weeds, raked and bagged pine needles, and piled up some dead branches that had fallen in the last wind storm. And thought.
I do some of my best thinking while engaging in physical labor. Also at 3 a.m., but that’s another story.
I did come up with a alternate idea. Now my protagonist has a choice of giving in one more time or telling his blackmailer to go ahead and betray him — but this time the stakes are much bigger. He could lose everything. Conversely, he could gain his heart’s desire.
Will he accept the gamble?
I know the answer to that question, but I’m not telling.